The first day of spring came and went in a snowstorm. My garden is covered in two feet of snow, and on the radio "Highway Travel is Not Advised." It’s the kind of day to stay inside, if at all possible, curled up with a book – preferably a cookbook with pictures of green Italian hillsides.
Last fall, I picked a bucket of sour plums in the Katz' back yard. My husband was building their garage (he helped to build their house the summer before) and Dick invited us to pick his plums. I cut out the pits and boiled them without sugar, and packed the soft fruit into jars.
Dick is from Brooklyn. He saw Jackie Robinson play at Ebbets Field. He came to Saskatoon to teach and here he met his wife, Verna, a Métis woman who grew up in a cabin up north. She’s a teacher, too. The day we raised their garage (it’s an old-fashioned timber frame), two dozen people were on hand to help, and when it was done we ate moose stew and drank cold beer in the twilight.
So today, the first day of spring, I thought of those plums. I made a meal of spring rolls and plum sauce, chock full of Saskatchewan carrots and cabbage. The recipe also called for mustard seeds, which grow on my family farm. It was a local meal born in China.
This spring, I will begin an food adventure I call "Home for Dinner" - focussing my attention on healthy, seasonal food straight from the farmers of Saskatchewan. Officially, I’ve decided to begin this food adventure on the first day I eat something green from my garden. At the moment, that day seems a long way off...